How long does SEO take to show results?

Mar Rojas

One of the most common inquiries among SEO professionals is: "How long does SEO take to show results?"

It's a burning topic in the industry.

Companies want to know when they will start seeing the impact of their investment (and rightfully so), but SEO isn't like paid media, where results can be almost instantaneous once ads are launched. It takes time to see results with SEO. But how much time are we talking about?

In this guide, we'll answer this question and break down the factors that influence how long it will take for you to see results with SEO. Specifically, we'll discuss:

What Does SEO Success Look Like?

To answer the question, we first need to define the aspect of SEO and ensure that the measurement of results is representative.

When crafting an SEO strategy, it's common to define campaign goals and KPIs (key performance indicators).

Let's break it down.

  • Goals = The ultimate outcome you want to achieve.
  • KPIs = Metrics that demonstrate progress towards your goals.

Both are important measures of success and, ultimately, of the results of your efforts. Commonly, the reality is that these goals and KPIs typically resemble:

  • Goals = Achieving a specific revenue increase over a 12-month period.
  • KPIs = Growth in organic traffic, visibility, impressions, or rankings.

Of course, setting goals involves defining measurable yet realistic targets. To answer this question, let's focus on the time it usually takes to see results in key KPIs, understanding that goals are often much more exclusive to a company and vary significantly depending on several factors.

You Should Expect to See SEO Results Within 6 to 12 Months...

SEO should yield results within 6 to 12 months. By results, we mean a measurable increase in traffic and leads or conversions.

It doesn't necessarily mean you've achieved your goal, but any company investing in SEO should expect to see progress within that timeframe.

It's impossible to provide a figure that applies to all websites, and the best an SEO can do is provide an approximate estimate based on an analysis of the website's current performance and the proposed strategy.

It can't be overlooked that improving your SEO takes time. Google (and other search engines) want to display the best result for any search query, and it takes time to earn a good position.

But with the right strategy, 6 to 12 months is a long enough period to see the impact of SEO efforts and justify continued investment.

Factors That Determine How Long It Takes to Achieve SEO Success

To help you better understand how long it takes to see success with SEO, let's take a look at the factors that determine it.

1. Your Website's History

Whether you're working on a new domain or an established one is one of the key factors that influence how long it takes to see SEO results.

A new domain will almost always take longer to succeed than an established one, as it hasn't yet built up authority or gained backlinks. In comparison, an established domain will usually have gained at least some level of authority and have some backlinks.

A new domain should expect to see results within 9 to 12 months, rather than 6 to 12.

However, an established domain doesn't automatically mean you'll see faster results. You're unlikely to see quick results if the domain has been penalized before, undergone a core algorithm update, or had SEO work done against Google's webmaster guidelines.

When working on a new project, it's always a good idea to get a sense of its history. You can get an idea of performance by checking impressions in Google Search Console.

2. Competition

Results can be seen much faster in low-competition niches and low-competition search queries than in competitive ones.

Are you trying to rank a website for competitive finance-related keywords (e.g., "credit cards")? It could take 2 years or more to get to page 1. On the other hand, for local or less competitive keywords, promising results can be achieved within 3 to 6 months.

3. Your Resources

While you can't control a website's history or the competition, you can typically control the resources allocated to an SEO project. It's important to understand how heavily this influences the time it takes to see results from a campaign. The more resources you can allocate to SEO, the faster you'll see results.

The most important resource is time.

It's essential to recognize that the time it takes to see results in an SEO project depends on the resources allocated. The best way to shorten this time is by allocating more resources to the project.

It often makes sense to create a list of action items at the start of a campaign (detailing all opportunities and actions) and then prioritize them based on the resources allocated. This can help you see the opportunities that are still outstanding and could be pushed forward with more investment.

The Three Obstacles That Hinder SEO Success and How They Affect the Time to Get Results...

There are three key points to achieving SEO success, and each of them can influence the time it takes to see results. Let's take a look.

Technical SEO

If there are technical SEO issues on a website, they'll need to be resolved before you can experience the growth you want to see.

Technical SEO refers to things like:

  • Crawling and indexing.
  • Web speed.
  • Canonicalization.
  • Structured data.
  • Duplicate content.
  • XML sitemap.
  • Hreflang.
  • and more.

Fixing issues in some of these areas will have a bigger impact than in others, but the fact remains that any technical issues need to be addressed.

You can identify technical SEO issues on your website using the Semrush Site Audit Tool and see a list of areas that need your attention.

However, technical SEO alone isn't enough. Think of resolving these issues as removing the brakes from your project and allowing your website to compete against others.


You've probably heard that content is king, and indeed, content remains one of Google's top 3 ranking factors.

Google's goal is to provide the best results for a given search query, so why would poor content perform well in search results?

It's important to prioritize creating great content that matches the searcher's intent, but take your time to understand what's already ranking and figure out how to create something better. You can learn a lot by studying content that already works.

Low-quality (or even mediocre) content can slow down your results, while excellent content, carefully planned and bringing something new to a topic, can help your website rank more quickly.


In addition to content, backlinks also hold a prominent position as one of Google's top three ranking factors. They serve as markers of trust and popularity, bolstering a website's positioning.

Ultimately, links represent votes of confidence between two websites. However, it's important to grasp that obtaining quality backlinks seldom follows a shortcut.

It takes time and typically involves creating exceptional content that others wish to link to. Moreover, bridging a significant backlink gap with competitors can be time-consuming.

Nevertheless, not all backlinks are created equal, and higher-quality links ultimately possess the capability to expedite positioning more rapidly than lower-quality ones.

While you can work on building your backlink profile, bear in mind that the necessity of closing a considerable backlink gap may extend the time required to see results.

How Long Does Google Say It Takes to See SEO Results?

In most cases, SEO efforts typically require between four months and a year to help your company implement improvements and then witness potential benefits.

Following the implementation of your strategy, it's crucial to monitor your website to ensure it yields results. SEO isn't a one-time tactic; instead, it necessitates regular reporting and upkeep.

SEO entails ongoing work, and viewing the channel as a long-term continuous tactic can aid in justifying the investment.

The more resources you can allocate, the faster you'll see results, but every website is unique. It's vital to pay close attention to technical issues, content quality, and the robustness of the backlink profile before projecting the time needed to achieve success.

If you want to achieve results like the ones shown in the electromaps' use case and don't know where to start, contact us!

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